Supersizing ­security

April 2013 CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring

Mark Chertkow
Mark Chertkow

As more CCTV cameras are deployed in safe city networks, at residential and business sites, in industrial complexes and in moving vehicles, taking advantage of new and smarter security technology is becoming vital. In the control room, the heart of any security operation, making use of enterprise grade software is crucial to facilitate more efficient monitoring of multiple video gateways, and deliver a more proactive, responsive, effective and auditable service to customers.

In typical surveillance implementations, servers, also known as video gateways, are deployed to record video from security cameras, stream live or recorded video to remote users, monitor sensors, interface with GPS tracking systems and notify users if problems are detected. They also allow users to control on-site pan, tilt, zoom (PTZ) cameras and other activators (eg, arming or disarming a lock based on audio-visual input). A challenge arises, however, when many of these video gateways need to be monitored by dozens of staff in a control centre.

The limitation of security monitoring solutions meant for management of a small number of video streams and inputs is that the alerts from these feeds cannot be intelligently routed. In addition, procedures related to the type of alert do not accompany the alert, nor can the actions or activities of personnel responding to the alert be recorded for later audit or analysis. To do this, a more powerful server-based, enterprise-level management solution with a database is needed.

The benefit of these enterprise-strength security control room solutions is that the server retrieves the data from the video gateways, stores it in its database and then makes this data accessible to multiple operators simultaneously. The server also manages the alarm and notification system, enabling staff to, for instance, view live and recorded video from multiple sites, locate and monitor fleets of commercial vehicles, and receive immediate notifications that require their attention.

In selecting a control centre solution, look out for efficient and comprehensive CCTV alarm handling. This can be facilitated by functionality that allows automatic assignment of certain alarms to specific staff members. At the same time, the system needs to be flexible enough to allow for reassignment of responsibility for handling an alarm on the fly. Managers should be able to easily monitor the entire alarm-handling process, seeing the current status of each alarm and a rundown of how it has been handled.

For optimal performance, identify technologies that take into consideration the unique infrastructure limitations of remote locations, as well as other issues such as bandwidth constraints and costs, and demand for fast rollout. In particular, look out for DVR technology that can make use of wireless and 3G connectivity options, and incorporates the best compression technologies.

For more information contact Graphic Image Technologies, +27 (0)11 483 0333,  [email protected],


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